Women’s softball strikes out


Gianluca Cuevas

UTEP Miners hosted the Buffalo University Bulls, New Mexico University Lobos, Santa Clara University Broncos and Texas Tech University Red Raiders Thursday Feb. 16 through 19. This tournament was dedicated to former UTEP President Diana Natalicio, Ph.D.

Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela, Sports Editor

The UTEP Miners hosted the Buffalo University Bulls, New Mexico University Lobos, Santa Clara University Broncos and Texas Tech University Red Raiders for the first ever Dr. Diana Natalicio Memorial Tournament Thursday Feb. 16 through Sunday Feb. 19. 

The tournament was dedicated to former UTEP President Diana Natalicio, Ph.D., who died in late 2021. Natalicio served as president from 1988 to 2019, becoming the longest- serving president of a major public research university in the country. Following her retirement, the University of Texas Board of Regents granted  Natalicio the title of President Emerita. 

The Miners opened the weekend with a victory over the Buffalo Bulls Thursday, Feb. 16. The game started out slow after three scoreless innings, but at the top of the fourth, Buffalo managed to score after Bulls’ freshman Lily Lauck struck the ball toward center field allowing senior Alexis Lucyshyn to run home for the first point of the night. This would be the Bulls’ only score. 

The Miners answered quickly during the bottom of the fourth thanks to a home run from junior infielder Anna Sample with junior outfielder Savannah Favre on base. This placed UTEP up one run after the fourth inning. The bottom of the fifth also featured a homer from senior infielder Pate Cathey with a runner on base. This placed the Miners 4-1 with no other runs noted in Thursday’s match. 

Following the powerful win versus Buffalo, the Miners faced Texas Tech late Friday afternoon. In this game, the Miners were the first to score after graduate student Caitlyn Brockway placed the ball over the left side fence allowing sophomore infielders Ajia Richard and Rylan Dooner to head home, too. This placed the Miners on top 3-0 at the end of the second inning. 

The Red Raiders soon followed, scoring two runs at the top of the third inning. After the top of the fourth, Texas Tech managed another run placing the Red Raiders next to the Miners with three runs each. 

After fending off the Red Raiders at the top of the fifth, the Miners extended the lead to one after Favre found home, pushing the score to 4-3. Unfortunately for UTEP, this would be the final score against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders tied the score 4-4 in the sixth and pulled away with a comeback in during the seventh inning. 

Following its disappointing loss against Texas Tech, the Miners played the Santa Clara Broncos at 4 p.m. Saturday Feb. 18. The result of this game was not something the Miners were hoping for as UTEP fell 12-3. The Miners allowed five runs in the second inning after a decent start in the first. UTEP would only score two in the first and one in the fourth. Santa Clara, on the other hand, scored in all but two innings. Pitchers Aalijah Alarcon, Breanna Ford and Mackenzee Collins had 11 combined earned runs, and each recorded only one strikeout. 

The Miners faced a tight turnaround as UTEP faced Texas Tech once again at 7 p.m. that same Saturday. The Miners looked to come out successful in the team’s rematch versus Red Raiders just the night before. Once again, the Miners started out on top 3-0 after three innings. It was not until the top of the fourth that Texas Tech scored. The Red Raiders put on a scoring clinic hitting two home runs and two runs batted in to place Texas Tech up 4-3 to start the bottom of the fourth. UTEP would score in the following three innings but would fail to leave with a win after Texas Tech noted four runs in the final two innings. The final score for the night would be 8-6. 

El Paso’s inclement weather Sunday, Feb 19 postponed an exciting doubleheader versus the New Mexico Lobos preventing the Miners from ending the weekend on a positive note. UTEP will have to wait until March 1 to face the Lobos in New Mexico. 

Up next for the women’s softball team is another at-home tournament featuring CSU-Bakersfield, Tarleton State, Kansas City, Creighton and Oklahoma State. The UTEP Invitational Softball Tournament will be hosted at the Helen of Troy Softball Campus and will run from Friday Feb. 24 until Sunday Feb. 26. 

All statistics provided by UTEP Athletics and utepminers.com 

Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela is the sports editor and may be reached at [email protected]: @rivasemmanuel2 on Instagram.